Crusade in Europe – Review

Crusade in EuropeI find reading accounts of the participants of the Second World War to be very helpful. A while back I read Churchill’s Second World War  and now I have read Dwight Eisenhower’s Crusade in Europe.

I couldn’t help but compare the two works. The difference is much more than Churchill’s being a multi-volume work and Eisenhower’s a single volume.

Churchill often made it about himself, while Eisenhower often deflected the attention. They had two totally different approaches to leadership. It was interesting to read about their actual interactions. They didn’t always see eye-to-eye, and while Eisenhower acknowledges that, he never bad mouthes the British prime minister.

Another aspect I appreciated was Eisenhower’s relationship with George Patton. Eisenhower respected Patton’s military capabilities but was also forced to navigate Patton’s controversial actions. Eisenhower could be friends with Patton, while at the same time acknowledging his faults.

Crusade in Europe provides a nice overview of the Second World War in Europe, beginning with the American and British invasion of Africa, the Italian campaign, D-Day and the push into Germany. I expected the book to be very American-centric but he is happy to share the exploits of the British, Canadians and others.

It would be a mistake to only study the Second World War from the perspective of generals, but this is definitely a part of the picture. Read newer accounts of the events, but also go back to those who were personally involved.

I enjoyed Eisenhower’s account and came to greatly respect him as a leader. A must-read for students of the Second World War.


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